Climate change is top of mind for much of the world this week as global leaders meet in Poland for the 24th UN climate change conference (COP24). There’s one takeaway from the surrounding conversations, news coverage and research reports: climate change is a serious problem that is already having a tangible impact on the world and people’s lives.
The recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment reaffirms, “the impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future.” The Assessment goes on to explain that travel and tourism is one of several industries expected to be “degraded by the impacts of climate change.”
As a global business, we see the impacts of climate change every day. From hurricanes to droughts, wildfires to floods, our Team Members and guests are facing an increasing number of extreme weather events and natural disasters caused or amplified by global climate change.
At Hilton, we take the threat of global climate change very seriously and we’ve made combatting it a top business priority. Over the past decade, we’ve made promising strides in curbing our environmental impact, including reducing our carbon emissions by 30%, energy consumption by 21%, water use by 20% and waste by 31%. However, we are conscious there’s so much more we and the industry can do.
This is why we’ve taken our corporate responsibility efforts to another level. This May, we became the first major hospitality brand to set science-based carbon reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Our carbon targets align with the carbon reductions stipulated in the Paris Climate Agreement, and they are just one part of our broader Travel with Purpose commitment to cut our global environmental footprint in half and double our social impact investment by 2030.
In order to fulfill these commitments and redefine sustainable travel and tourism, Hilton continues to explore new ways to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency across our business.
An example of this is the new photovoltaic solar array currently being installed at the Grand Wailea – A Waldorf Astoria Resort. Once completed, the 1.5 megawatt solar array will be the largest on the island of Maui and will significantly reduce our carbon emissions by providing clean renewable energy to the hotel. The Millennium Hilton Bangkok has also installed a solar-powered hot water heater that doesn’t require grid electricity to heat the hotel’s water.
We’re also testing “smart” technologies including Hilton’s Connected Room, which will enable guests to sync air conditioning and lighting preferences with their schedule and will allow our hotel operators to monitor how their hotels are managing energy in real time. In conjunction with our award-winning LightStay system, Connected Room will help us track how effectively we are reducing our environmental impact.
However, with every climate change report and conference, we’re reminded of how quickly this critical global issue is progressing – and how serious the impacts will be for our industry. As chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council, Chris Nassetta, Hilton’s president and CEO, has dedicated his platform to fostering sustainable tourism and is calling on the industry to make big changes now.
We hope you will join us in combatting climate change. To our industry peers, let’s make sustainable tourism a priority and work together to scale solutions. To our guests, we ask that you Travel with Purpose by continuing to demand and expect sustainability not just from us but all of your travel companies. We all want to enjoy the amazing places the world has to offer – now and in the future.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising nearly 4,900 properties with more than 796,000 rooms in 104 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world”s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company’s portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton HHonors®. Hilton HHonors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to benefits including an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi, as well as digital amenities that are available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton HHonors app, where Hilton HHonors members can check-in, choose their room, and access their room using a Digital Key. Visit news.hiltonworldwide.com for more information and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.